Mark of the Astro-Zombies (2002) half brain

When I first saw The Astro-Zombies, I totally missed the fact that it was written, directed, and produced by Ted V. Mikels. That name may not mean much to you, but if you check him out on IMDB you'll see that he's responsible for a long list of schlock. He's like Lloyd Kauffmann without the self-awareness. Astro-Zombies was excruciating, so I expected more of the same from Mark of the Astro-Zombies, written, directed, and producted yet again by Mikels, perhaps so the burning, unresolved plot points from the first movie could finally be wrapped up. Or maybe because Mikels wanted to cash in on the zombie craze.

This movie was, I think, even worse than the first. Even with its horrible writing and poor effects, Astro-Zombies at least looked like someone was trying to do their best on a limited budget. Mark of the Astro-Zombies, done 33 years later, just looks like Mikels has given up even pretending to care.

We actually get to see Mikels in this movie; he plays Dr. Mikacevich, a mad scientist trying to create astro-zombies himself by talking to the preserved head of Dr. DeMarco from the first movie. If Carradine (who played DeMarco) had still been alive, I'm sure he would have gamely stepped in, but sadly, as it was, Mikels had to make do with a model. Also returning from the first movie is Tura Satana, but not (quite) playing the same character. She's still playing an evil person seeking to use astro-zombies for her personal gain, but the name is different.

In this movie, the astro-zombies are being created by evil aliens who want to wipe out humans and then colonize Earth themselves. The zombies are organic robots, working the same way as DeMarco's creatures but without being solar-powered. We find out nothing about these aliens from the scenes in which they are, since the actors' voices are almost completely muffled by either their costumes, "alien" voice distortion, or both. Only occasional words can be caught: "destroy," "mark," "test." Most of what we find out about them comes from the good aliens, who show up in the middle of the movie and explain things to the president after calling his secretary on the direct line. We know they're good because they're sparkly (seriously).

When the zombies start attacking, they simply run around with machetes slaughtering people. You would think that aliens that had developed space travel would have developed some weapon of mass-destruction that could wipe everyone out at once, especially if they make a habit of colonizing other planets, but apparently this zombie thing has been working well for them so far. The reaction of the people of Earth is mostly to flounder about. In an attempt to make his movie more marketable, Mikels cast Brinke Stevens in one subplot as a reporter trying to figure out what's going on (she doesn't). The reporter's boyfriend is on a presidential advisory panel with several "experts." This panel mostly sits around wringing their hands and trying to find even more "experts" until the good aliens show up. The only one who seems to have any kind of useful plan is Tura Satana's character, who tries to make foreign ambassadors believe that she can control the zombies so that she can sell them the secret for large sums of money.

The movie might amuse you, but it will more likely alternate between boring you and making you just shake your head at it in disbelief. I've barely scratched the surface of what makes this movie ridiculous, but I really don't think you need to find out for yourself.